Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 791–804 | Cite as

Cloning and high-level production of a chitinase from Chromobacterium sp. and the role of conserved or nonconserved residues on its catalytic activity

  • Seur Kee Park
  • Chi Wook Kim
  • Hoon Kim
  • Jae Sung Jung
  • G. E. HarmanEmail author
Biotechnologically Relevant Enzymes and Proteins


A gene encoding an alkaline (pI of 8.67) chitinase was cloned and sequenced from Chromobacterium sp. strain C-61. The gene was composed of 1,611 nucleotides and encoded a signal sequence of 26 N-terminal amino acids and a mature protein of 510 amino acids. Two chitinases of 54 and 52 kDa from both recombinant Escherichia coli and C-61 were detected on SDS-PAGE. Maximum chitinase activity was obtained in the culture supernatant of recombinant E. coli when cultivated in TB medium for 6 days at 37°C and was about fourfold higher than that from C-61. Chi54 from the culture supernatants could be purified by a single step based on isoelectric point. The purified Chi54 had about twofold higher binding affinity to chitin than to cellulose. The chi54 encoded a protein that included a type 3 chitin-binding domain belonging to group A and a family 18 catalytic domain belonging to subfamily A. In the catalytic domain, mutation of perfectly conserved residues and highly conserved residues resulted in loss of nearly all activity, while mutation of nonconserved residues resulted in enzymes that retained activity. In this process, a mutant (T218S) was obtained that had about 133% of the activity of the wild type, based on comparison of Kcat values.


Chitinase Site-directed mutagenesis Enzyme purification Enzyme enhancement 



This study was supported by the Technology Development Program for Agricultural and Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Republic of Korea. The authors thank Kristen Ondik and Michal Shoresh for editorial assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seur Kee Park
    • 1
  • Chi Wook Kim
    • 2
  • Hoon Kim
    • 3
  • Jae Sung Jung
    • 4
  • G. E. Harman
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural BiologySunchon National UniversitySunchonSouth Korea
  2. 2.Technical Research InstituteDong Bang Agro Corp.ChungNamSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural ChemistrySunchon National UniversitySunchonSouth Korea
  4. 4.Department of BiologySunchon National UniversitySunchonSouth Korea
  5. 5.Department of Horticultural SciencesCornell UniversityGenevaUSA

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